The Crew went back to practice today. It's rivalry week with the second installment of the Trillium Cup series against Toronto set to kick off at Crew Stadium this Saturday. It seems so strange.
It's hard to think that this team is already back on the field. The pain of losing a part of the Crew family so fresh. At some point you have to go back to work; go back to normal. Today was that first, small step for many.
Grief is individual; grief is personal. No one feels it the same way. Stepping on that turf or seeing an empty locker is going to hit every one on that team differently. The organization has made counselors available to help players and staff comprehend the incomprehensible.
Some players are going to find comfort feeling the warm sun and breaking a sweat. Others are probably going to find solice in quiet rememberence. Even though these players will find the best way to come to terms individually, it's clear that support and help are just the next locker over. Rarely have I seen such a strong bond among teammates; it's family like few others.
The Crew are still trying how best to decide to honor the memory of Kirk Urso. I have faith that team President Mark McCullers, Hunt Sports Group, and the team will strike the right note of class and dignity for such a tragic situation. Crew supporters groups are working out the best way to celebrate a player who had made an impact in such a short time.
Saturday will be an overwhelmingly emotional day; the game is still currently scheduled to be played. The pain, anger, anguish will be so fresh that it will be very difficult for fans, players, and staff alike to focus. At kickoff, it's a brief respite with the focus back on a mere game.
Eventually, the pain will recede to the background of everyday life, but it won't be forgotten. Much like Tom Fitzgerald before him, a small part of the Columbus Crew family is missing. It will always be missing, gone too soon.